The 2014 Rankine lecture was presented on 18 March at Imperial College in London, by Prof. Guy Houlsby, Oxford University. After the lecture the next year's Rankine lecturer was announced: Dr. Suzanne Lacasse, from the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute.
|Dr. Suzanne Lacasse. Photo from NGI.|
It is considered a great honor to be invited to hold this prestigious lecture, which is sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of geotechnics. This is the first time a woman is chosen as Rankine lecturer, which was held for first time in 1961 by Arthur Casagrande.
Suzanne Lacasse came to NGI in 1978 as a Research fellow, from MIT, and became a regular employee at NGI in 1980. She was NGI's Managing Director from 1991 through 2011, and now holds the position as Technical Director, mainly focusing on risk assessment issues.
She was raised in a copper-mining town in Quebec, earned a BA and BS in civil engineering from Ecole Polytechnique of Montréal followed by MSc (S.M.) and PhD degrees in geotechnical engineering at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Today, her work in risk assessment and design — for offshore structures, onshore foundations and slope — is recognized internationally.
She is a Member of the US National Academy of Engineers, the Canadian Academy of Engineers, the French Academy of Sciences - Section Technologies, the Norwegian Academy of Engineering and Sciences, the Norwegian Engineering Academy, the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, and the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Technology.
Dr. Lacasse is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and an honorary member of the Norwegian Geotechnical Society. She gave the 37th Terzaghi Lecture at the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2001, and the Terzaghi Oration in Paris in September 2013.
Prof. Guy Houlsby has previously spent a period at NGI as a guest researcher. The title of his 2014 Rankine lecture was "Interactions in Offshore Foundation Design." This was a very relevant theme for the many attendants from NGI, led by the present Managing Director, Lars Andresen, and Suzanne Lacasse.
One NGI-employee has previously been given the honour of presenting The Rankine Lecture. NGI's first director (1951-73) Laurits Bjerrum, presented in 1967, the subsequent highly referenced lecture "Engineering geology of Norwegian normally-consolidated marine clays as related to settlements of buildings", published in Geotechnique in 1967.
The Rankine lecture is an annual lecture organized by the British Geotechnical Association, named after William John Macquorn Rankine, an early contributor to the theory of soil mechanics. He was one of the founding contributors to the science of thermodynamics, and also had extremely varied interests, including botany, music theory and mathematics.